Second-ranked Alabama can win its second Southeastern Conference regular-season title outright in three years with a victory over visiting Auburn on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (25-4, 15-1), who already have a share of the championship, also can claim it outright if they lose to the Tigers but No. 24 Texas A&M (21-8, 13-3) falls at Ole Miss on Tuesday.
Alabama also can win the title outright — and the top seed at next week’s SEC tournament that goes with it — with a win over host Texas A&M on Saturday in the teams’ regular-season finale.
If Alabama and Texas A&M finish with identical conference records, the Aggies would earn the top seed at the SEC tournament because they won the teams’ regular-season meeting.
Alabama is cruising, having won seven of its past eight games following an 86-83 win over visiting Arkansas on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Auburn is limping to the finish line.
The Tigers (19-10, 9-7) have dropped two of their past three games and five of their past seven after getting blown out 86-54 at Kentucky on Saturday.
Leading by 11 at halftime, Kentucky put the game away by opening the second half on a 9-2 run to extend its advantage to 49-31 with 15:18 to play.
Auburn, which trailed by as many as 40, was outscored 46-25 in the second half in its most lopsided loss of the season.
“You’ve got to try offensively to work together offensively to make each other better, and we just didn’t,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “And of course, the same thing happened on the defensive end as well. So, Auburn was not competitive at all tonight.”
Jaylin Williams, who averages 11.0 points per game, scored 13 points against Kentucky. Johni Broome, who averages a team-high 14.1 and 8.6 rebounds per game, was held to 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting and one rebound.
Wendell Green Jr., who averages 13.8 points per game, was held to nine points on 3-for-12 shooting.
Meantime, Alabama overcame a nine-point halftime deficit against Arkansas by opening the second half on a 28-9 run to take a 56-46 lead following Brandon Miller’s two free throws with 10:39 left.
The Razorbacks cut the lead to 85-83 with 10 seconds left before Rylan Griffen split a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds left. Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds.
“At the beginning of the game, obviously we struggled and did not score for the first few minutes,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “We were down nine at the half and made some decent adjustments to start the second half.”
Miller, who averages a team-high 19.7 points per game, had 24 points and six rebounds, while Jahvon Quinerly, who averages 7.1 points and a team-high 3.6 assists per game, added 16 points and seven assists against Arkansas.
Alabama defeated host Auburn 77-69 in the teams’ first meeting of the season on Feb. 11 behind Griffen and Mark Sears, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Tigers were led by Green’s 24 points, while Williams added 16.
–Field Level Media